Interracial Relationships & Dating
I placed a poll on my page a few days ago to gauge peoples interest. I asked if they would date someone outside their race and the responses were positive. I’ve proposed this question to a lot of my lesbian friends over the years and the answers have always been accompanied by a broad range of opinions. Of all my friends currently tied down in relationships, I can think of very few interracial partnerships within the mix.
I believe that interracial relationships are more common among gays and lesbians than heterosexuals since we’re already breaking barriers and defying norms by dating members of the same-sex. You would think that interracial dating would be almost second nature. That we’d be more open-minded about dating outside of our race because to be gay means to experience and more often than not to embrace differences and welcome diversity.
To be automatically rejected due to preconceived notions about who someone is based on his or her gender identity or the color of their skin is patently wrong. However, we seem to hold that belief system the most firm as it relates to gender identity, yet when it comes to skin color it’s less accepted. I often wonder how pigeonholing someone to fit your idea of whom they should or shouldn’t be, how they should or shouldn’t behave is not okay as long as racial differences aren’t identified as the culprit. They have already decided who that person is long before giving them a fair chance.
There is still a visible divide among lesbians and that probably has more to do with the fact that the most visible lesbians are still those highly representative of the white middle to upper class lesbian. Rarely do we see lesbians of color accurately or well represented within the same scope. I believe this causes ripples and internal feelings of resentment among women of color, plus not having that recognition within our own community is doubly polarizing.
There are more important factors to consider as to why our visibility isn’t as solid as it could be and it has a lot to do with famous black lesbians still hiding in the virtual closet, even when we know they’ve been gay for years. Often, due to personal and internal conflicts it may take years for them to come out publicly, thus indirectly affecting those of us who will never have their presence or impact in society. Perhaps white lesbians don’t struggle with this as much within their own families and communities because their religious influences aren’t as tied into their entire community as it is among black families.
Often, I’ve felt a certain pressure to choose a girlfriend or potential partner from within my own race. These pressures have usually arisen from family and friends to mere associates within the lesbian community who frown upon interracial dating. Many a time I’ve gone to a club or bar with a white lesbian, where there are a majority of black lesbians and the reactions when walking in the door have run the gamut from looks of disgust to uncomfortable stares to outright “there aren’t enough black women to go around” comments. This animosity, masked or otherwise is most often and specifically comes from feminine (outwardly appearing) black lesbians. The bois never seem to have a problem with this and usually give me the heads up greet as I do them when I find the woman on their arm to be aesthetically pleasing to the senses. It could be a demographic thing or it could be something I’m putting too much credence into, but it’s something I’ve wondered about for the longest.
Interracial relationships must confront not only cultural differences, but be recognized as an essential part of understanding and respecting each other’s diversity. I know there are a lot of gay women of varying ethnic backgrounds who have never considered dating a woman of another race because of her own fears which are often coupled with worries of negative reactions from family and friends and the social constructs in play that frown upon anything different or outside the “norm”.
I’m of the opinions that if you’re truly seeking the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with, you shouldn’t sell yourself short; you should expand your horizons and recognize that your options will be far more plentiful when you set aside fears of the unknown and truly began to embrace differences.
We all have our preferences and I for one respect each and every one of our attractions in all their different sizes, shapes, and forms. This mini-rant isn’t directed at you so be easy. It is however directed at those who have never stepped outside of their comfort zone with regard to dating because of pre-conceived prejudices, who oppress themselves and others based on ethnicity, and most certainly to those who judge others who aren’t afraid to be different, unique, and step outside of their [insert color here] box.